Valve Gaming platform Steam now offering Bitcoin digital currency.
The great axiom that is the Value Corporation, video game developer and digital distribution behemoth headquartered in Washington, USA has decided to start accepting Bitcoin.
Okay, so what is all the fuss about with this big kahuna of the gaming industry introducing bitcoin?
Well, firstly Valve operates Steam, arguably the world’s number one digital gaming platform. For those that were perhaps born before the MG — the Millennial Generation, Steam is the go-to place for competitive PC games.
Valve is also a game publisher and has created the hugely successful multiplayer first-person shooter video games such as Counter-Strike, and Dota 2 a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game.
The Steam platform itself has a reported 125 million users with average monthly concurrent users of over 10 million. You can view all these real-time user figures via this link Steam Games and Stats. http://store.steampowered.com/stats/
So long story short Valve and Steam pretty much have a good grip on the video games ecosystem or as it now referred to as eSports. This exposure can only be a good for the continued adoption and mainstream usage of Bitcoin in the video / esports industry, which in turn shall further hit mainstream markets within the supply chain.
Rumour has it that Bitpay is the Bitcoin payment processor according to sources on Reddit. It came about when code snippets of their new Steam beta client just happened to be leaked, and of which contained code references to Bitcoin authentication.
For me, the fact that Steam and its parent company Valve, which to remind folks, is USA based, just shows how far corporate America and the international community has come around to Bitcoin usage. Not only the intrinsic business merits of using Bitcoin for cost efficiencies in financial processes, but the realism that it’s what customers want is by far the significant part of this move. Another obvious impact of the deployment of Bitcoin on Steam is the growing convergence of competitive eSports or video gaming and its intersection with real-money gambling on eSports and the activity known as Skin Trading / Gambling.
Within the eSports ecosystem, gambling services are already well-developed. Skin gambling or skin trading has given rise to huge eBay style marketplaces. These platforms like CS: GO Lounge provides the ability to buy and sell digital items or ‘skins’ such as knives, guns related to the game Counter-strike (developed by Valve). They generate multi-millions of dollars in betting trades per day. (Look out for our next blog in the series ‘eSports Skins Trading & Bitcoin: The multi-million dollar marketplace you’ve never heard about.’ To learn more about this fast moving sector.)
We have also witnessed the floodgates opening as many operators in the mainstream online gambling industry scramble to add eSports as a betting option to the current roster of sports betting options available to players 24/7.
Indeed according to the research firm, Eilers, they estimate players shall wager over a quarter of a billion dollars on the outcome of eSports events in 2015, with a projected market size of $23bn by 2020.
How will this play out? Well, it’s highly likely that as most mainstream real-money sports betting gambling brands are in the dark ages in as far as their platforms only accept traditional fiat based payment methods, shall lose out.
The most likely winners to catch this wave initiated by Steam accepting Bitcoin on the world’s biggest gaming platform, downstream are forward-thinking real-money Bitcoin enabled betting platforms, that just happen to offer Counter-Strike, and Dota 2 already!
These platforms are geared-up to transfer that interest of skill-based competitive video gaming to that of real-money eSports gambling. Of course, to those over the required legal age only, in continuous and authentic marketing engagement that digital and millennial consumers expect.